Summer days part 2: The Putangirua Pinnacles

Saturday saw us traversing the Rimutaka Hill Road with a destination of the Putangirua Pinnacles on the Wairarapa south coast. We were not alone in our choice and as we sat at a picnic table for an early lunch there was a constant stream of vehicles arriving and departing the pinnacles campsite and carpark.

It was a hot day with little wind and it was refreshing to enter the forest as we took the track up towards the pinnacles lookout. Again we had Alayna counting steps and also introduced a game of hide a seek with various family members dispatched ahead to hide. Alayna enjoyed pretending not to notice people ineffectively hiding behind narrow trees and would be smiling when we walked past her hiding similarly.

Grandad "hides"

Grandad hides

Waiting to be found

Waiting to be found

Who is behind that tree?

Who is behind that tree?

You can't see me!

You can’t see me!

We reached a ridgeline and spent some time walking up, down and around the ridge mostly in the sun and it was a relief to finally reach the pinnacles lookout. We had a good sit down, rest and snack after taking in the view and after a brief discussion headed down the steeper track to the valley floor. It was a direct track and I’m glad we hadn’t walked up it (30 minutes up, 15 minutes down).

Looking out to sea

Looking out to sea

At the pinnacles lookout

At the pinnacles lookout

When we got to the rocky streambed that formed the valley floor I decided to head up to the base of the pinnacles while everyone else started back to the car. We’d been seeing (and passed by) lots of families and groups of tourists and the again there were lots of people around as I trudged upward. At the head of the valley there were two different groups playing around with their drones, filling the valley with a buzz like giant bees. I took a few photos and then took off to try and catch the rest of the family.

Heading down-valley

Heading down-valley

In amongst the pinnacles

In amongst the pinnacles

Up a narrow valley

Up a narrow valley

I caught up with everyone eventually and found Alayna happily throwing rocks into the stream bed. Picking our path alongside the stream we were not long to be back at the fork where we had headed up to the lookout and from there is was only 15 minutes back to the (stinking hot) cars. The road was quieter as we drove to Martinborough, perhaps most of the visitors already heading home.

Playing with rocks

Playing with rocks

The south coast road

The south coast road

Summer at the beach

Summer at the beach

Ice cream time

Ice cream time

The Wairarapa visit was completed with ice cream at the square and we sat on a picnic blanket in the shade feeling content. The ice cream was wonderful and made for a lovely footnote to our day.

Patuna Chasm

In the Wairarapa there is a hidden gem that I’ve been trying to visit for a few years now and last week I finally managed to get the time required to check it out. Patuna Chasm is a natural feature worn out over time by the passage of the Ruakokoputuna River. Situated on private property 17km south of Martinborough it’s possible to book a visit through Patuna Farm.

Keryn and I both took a day off and arrived at Patuna Farm a little early. All up there were 8 punters lined up to walk the chasm and this necessitated a trailer being hooked up to the farm 4WD to transport us all to the starting point which was a 15 minute drive from the farmstead. Our host was Alan and after giving us some tips and handing over a sheet describing the walk we were left to start walking. Alan had picked me as a photographer after lifting my admittedly heavy bag of camera gear into the 4WD and gave Keryn and I some extra advice to maximize the photography opportunities which was appreciated.

The first half of the walk traversed native forest and farmland as we headed upstream. There were one spot where there was a rope to help descend a stepper part of the track but otherwise it was fairly easy going. We spotted and heard korimako (bellbird), tui and miromiro (tomtit) while walking through the woodland and stopped to have lunch at the wonderful natural feature named Wave Rock.

Keryn climbs up to Wave Rock

Keryn climbs up to Wave Rock

A nice spot for lunch

A nice spot for lunch

From Wave Rock it was only a few minutes till we were heading down towards the river and negotiating another somewhat tricky section of track that again had ropes for assistance. Then it was down to the chasm floor via an 8m high ladder. The water at the bottom was cold on first contact but soon was comfortable enough on this warm summer day. It wasn’t possible to have dry feet on this walk so we were both wearing sports sandals. Alan recommends wearing shoes or boots to help prevent getting stones stuck underfoot but we managed OK. We took a moment to read the provided notes and decided to head upstream to a nearby waterfall.

Descending into the chasm

Descending into the chasm

Playing with water

Playing with water

The upstream waterfall

The upstream waterfall

The water got up to our knees as we picked our way upstream which was about as deep as we had to negotiate on the whole walk. The waterfall was very pretty and would be even more impressive after heavy rain. It’d also be easier to photograph on an overcast day but who am I to complain at sunny skies with scattered cloud. Keryn played with the streaming water and investigated the mossy banks while I took photos before turning back downstream.

The chasm narrows

The chasm narrows

The riverbed was rocky with occasional patches of gravel and we walked carefully, picking safe spots to place our feet and making sure not to stand on the larger submerged rocks which tended to be slippery. There were a few sections where we could walk along the banks and at one point labeled split rock we had to climb down another shorter ladder. Split rock was also a good spot to investigate fossilized shells exposed where the stone had cracked apart.

It was well worth reading the chasm notes. For instance at the next large rock in the center of the river we had a choice of left or right paths around the obstruction. The left side was dim and meant walking through dripping water coming down from the walls above while the right side looked much drier. The notes pointed out that the right side path was much deeper so a quick shower was the better option.

Looking back at the "house" rock

Looking back at the “house” rock

The chasm walls reached higher and started coming together past the house rock and we spent more and more time stopping and just watching the play of light across the water sculpted surfaces. Sunlight that reached the water would reflect in lazy moving waves and the water changed colour from black to green and yellow depending on the depth.

Sculptured rock

Sculptured rock

The path ahead

The path ahead

We were becoming aware of the time and that we were meant to be finished by 3pm for our pickup. One of the group ahead of us came back to check on us and the older couple behind us somewhere so we knew we had better get a wriggle-on. Pressing on through the water we passed a large short-finned eel seemingly suspended in the water to one side of the chasm, completely unimpressed by the travelling humans.

Nearly done

Nearly done

We came out of the chasm and there was one more short, rope assisted climb before we were again walking through the forest and uphill to the starting point. Next time I’ll take Alan’s suggestion and skip most of the forest and start in the chasm, I don’t think my photos really do the place justice. Patuna Chasm is a natural wonder that deserves to be experienced in person. I also look forward to the day Alayna can come visit with us, though she’d need to be a bit older (it’s recommended that children be older than 6).

New Years wandering

I had been planning a quiet New Years Eve as I had a concrete pad to construct the next day but then it started looking like the aurora could show so plans changed. For months I’ve been meaning to walk the Rimutaka Trig track (now named Te Ara Tirohanga: “The view that improves as you climb the ascending pathway”) in the evening to see if the views would be good for star gazing but I’ve never quite been organised enough. I made a snap decision and got ready to finally give it a go. The stunning weather also helped with it being warm and calm with clear skies, hopefully this would be the case at the trig as well.

The road was mostly clear, everyone either on holiday, out partying or at home. I reached the carpark at the base of the track just after 9pm and was soon walking uphill. Its a short but relentless slope to the trig and I was taking frequent stops to rest and check out the view (improving as suggested). After about 20 minutes I reached the top to good if not great views, the Wairarapa side was very hazy.

Taking in the view at dusk

Taking in the view at dusk

Looking towards Lake Wairarapa

Looking towards Lake Wairarapa

As dusk settled into night the weather also changed and misty cloud started forming. I persisted for a while but the view was quickly disappearing and photographic opportunities were becoming few and far between. I entertained myself with shots of cars travelling SH2 and lighting up the road leaving trails through the mist but it was getting colder and there was no longer any chance of aurora being captured so I was soon enough packing up and walking downhill to the car. I stopped a couple of times for photos and got a few nice shots of stars through the low canopy of trees near the bottom of the track, first having to wipe away the condensation building on the lens.

Traffic along SH2 as the mist rolls in

Traffic along SH2 as the mist rolls in

Misty trig

Misty trig

Stars through the trees

Stars through the trees

Looking at the time when I was back in the car I realised I might be able to make it to Petone in time to see the New Years fireworks over Wellington. I managed to get to the beach in time but the fireworks in Wellington were far to far away to be photographed so I took a few photos of fireworks on the beach before returning to the car.

Rocket launch!

Rocket launch!

Messy fireworks

Messy fireworks

Looking at my phone I could see on Facebook that the aurora was showing for some down south so I took a chance and drove to Red Rocks on the south coast. I was lucky enough to capture a faint aurora but the rising moon (big and yellow above the horizon) was wiping out the colour. Thankfully there were plenty of meteors (likely part of the Quadrantids Meteor Shower) to also spot and I was lucky enough to catch a large one in camera. To the eye it flashed across the sky leaving a brief smoking trail waving behind it.

Contemplating the milky way

Contemplating the milky way

Meteor, milky way and aurora australis

Meteor, milky way and aurora australis

All up it was a good end to 2015 and a great start to 2016. Happy New Year everyone!

Pukaha, Mt Bruce

The last day of 2012 saw some nice weather so Keryn and I headed off to the Wairarapa for the day. We had a good brunch at Wild Oats in Carterton, pancakes for myself and French toast for Keryn. and then headed out to Pukaha, the National Wildlife Centre situated at Mount Bruce north of Masterton.

Pukaha is set at the bottom of Mount Bruce in some nice regenerating forest. The visitor centre has a small introductory area with displays and information and then its out into the forest to walk around well maintained tracks. The immediate area has a number of medium to large aviaries set up that hold native birds, many being prepared for release into the wild. This was the first time we had seen orange-fronted kakariki and whio (blue ducks), just a pity they were in cages. There was also a very curious and friendly female kokako who was a highlight.

MG 1513Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A lovely kokako.

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Tuatara basking.

There is also a kiwi house that contains geckos and tuatara in addition to kiwis. Pride of place in the kiwi house is Manukura, an all white (but not albino) bird. We saw Manukura on a second walk through the kiwi house.

There are various events throughout the day and we arrived in time to see the long finned eels getting fed. Dozens of long, thick eels squirmed and jostled in the water for the food, joined by a couple of large brown trout and a few ducks that got close but not too close in case they ended up as food themselves.

MG 1289Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A large long finned eel.

We bumped in to Catherine and Paul at the eel feeding, a strange coincidence given none of us had been here before. We walked on with them through the nearby swamp area, watching the grey duck keeping an eye on her brood of ten ducklings. We parted ways after visiting the whio in their rather rough looking enclosures, Keryn and I heading up a hill on the loop track to a viewpoint. We spotted a few more birds along the track. There were groups of riflemen flitting through the trees around us, a few that stayed close so we could watch them heading up trunks and along branches. There were large kaka nest boxes attached to some of the larger trees and we saw one kaka flying through the trees. We also heard cuckoos, youngsters haranguing their poor surrogate grey warbler parents for food.

MG 1307Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A rifleman passing by.

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A fantail in the forest.

The view at the top was good, though we realised we were not going to get back down in time to see the kaka feeding at 3pm. We got to the feeding area at least 30 minutes after the scheduled feeding but luckily there were still a number of kaka feeding so we got to spend some time watching them flying around between feeders.

MG 1428Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A kaka at the feeders.

So we had a good time, but probably won’t be going back anytime soon. Its easier to get to Zealandia and we tend to see more on a visit there. There is further native birdlife in the forest on the mount, including kokako, and there is also some interesting flora like the flowering rata we saw at a distance. There was at least one other, longer walking track at Pukaha so maybe we’ll go back on day to walk that and see what else we can see.

Drown the Gown, Wairarapa edition

Saturday was an interesting day. I drove from Porirua to Greytown in the Wairarapa for a rendezvous with a number of other photographers and seven lovely ladies. The plan was to spend the day taking photos of the woman who would be dressed in wedding gowns and as the day progressed most of the gowns would be trashed in one way or another. Trash the dress or drown the gown photography sessions have been around for a while now, often giving the bride a chance to have a bit of fun after the wedding day. In our case most (if not all) of the dresses had been sourced cheaply off trademe, and some of the woman were not yet married. It was basically a change for the photographers to get some shots for their respective portfolios and the models for the day to get some nice and interesting photos.

The whole thing came about through a Facebook group created to get like minded photographers together in different places around New Zealand for the purpose of Drown the Gown photo shoots. Liz organised the Wairarapa shoot and has set a very high standard for others to follow. The day went very smoothly, if not exactly to schedule, and it certainly seems that everyone enjoyed themselves.

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Jessica has a swing by the stream.

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Reclining along a pine bough.

From Greytown we headed into the countryside, eventually arriving at a rural property about 5 minutes out of town. There was a bite to eat and a few drinks for the nervous and then we were out on the farm to take the first sets of photographs. Trying not to get too messy we started with some nice and simple locations where the ladies could get used to the photographers and get some nice photos of them in their dresses while everything was still clean. Some of the more experienced photographers helped things along by setting up scenes and directing the models (who were all pretty much doing the modelling thing for the first time), with tips on how to stand and help us all get the best out of the photos.

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Lara poses with the boat at the pond.

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Sharlene in the row boat.

After these few couple of locations is was back to the house and then on to a nearby old shearing shed which had been out of use for a number of years and was quite dilapidated. We spent time moving around the building taking photos with different ladies, I was learning a lot just by watching some of the more established photographers. Everyone was very helpful and relaxed.

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Lisa poses at the entrance to what must have been a storage room off the main shearing shed.

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Karra in the same room, looking out a window towards Tabitha (another photographer).

This session over we headed back for a wonderful lunch, everyone recharging before the afternoon trashing began. The fun began with a gown being well and truly drowned in the pond, then another being trashed in a mud pool and then a third being walked and then drowned in a stream. It was all good fun, and we were generally careful keeping safety in mind (never going too deep, being aware that a wedding dress gets even more awkward and heavy when wet).

IMG 9079Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Sharlene reclines in the pond (doing well to not show disgust at the sticky, smelly mud).

IMG 9166Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Medusa in the stream, her running commentary was priceless.

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A different part of the stream had a graceful Lara immersing.

After each dress had been trashed a towel was provided to help provide some warmth and each lady was then transported (in a trailer attached to a quad bike) back to the house where a warm shower and then spa pool awaited. The final few trashings involved lying in an old iron bathtub outside, a mock killing scene that revolved around Jessica using a chainsaw to inflict pretend bodily harm on a prone Lisa (with liberal application of red paint) and then finally Karra being splattered with paint by her gleeful younger brother and sister.

IMG 9256Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Jessica in the cold water of the outdoor bath.

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Karra after her encounter with paint.

The photos have turned out wonderful, with photographers and models happy with the results. Liz did a great job bringing everything together and everyone helped out to make the day a fantastic success, even the forecast rain and high winds stayed away. The whole day was a great experience, and hopefully I’ll get to take part in similar events in the future.

Sam & Jules at Pounui, Part 3

The continuing story of a fantastic Wedding day. Processing 2000+ photos takes a long time but I’m getting there. Here we have another set of previews, this time processed a bit more (maybe not to everyones tastes, needless to say Sam and Jules will get the less processed copies as well).

IMG 3441Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A happy bunch of friends and family.

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Sam & Jules with the nieces and nephews.

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Beautiful ladies ;).

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Minding balloons.

IMG 3641Photo by Brendon & Keryn

For some reason this photos reminds me of Alice in Wonderland.

IMG 3648Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Relaxing on the couch, as you do.

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Scruffies!

Back to the coal face for me then, another 800 or so to go.

Sam & Jules at Pounui, part 1

Sam & Jules got married yesterday and we had the pleasure of being at the Wedding and also taking the official photographs. It started with an evening get together at the Wedding venue, Pounui Homestead, on Friday night where everyone got to meet all the guests and get to know each other while having a few drinks and eating Mexican street food cooked on site by El Señor Andres from Las Margaritas. Perfect weather and good company made for a wonderful start to the weekend.

IMG 2830Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Jules and Sam.

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Blowing bubbles.

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El Señor Andres.

Visitors

Patty and Sam were in Wellington for a week or so for a Hay family celebration and spent some time with us. I took them to Zealandia and drove them all around as we visited people and places. We visited Sue at the Island Bay home of Compassion and had a walk around which included a look at the large allotment style garden hidden out the back.

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A posing Kaka at Zealandia.

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Patty & Sue at the secret allotment.

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Sneaky photo.

While Patty and Sam were celebrating with the family Hay Keryn and I were joined by Catherine for an evening trip out to Daisy Bank farm near Martinborough. The More FM Summer Vineyard Tour featured the John Butler Trio, Aloe Blacc & the Grand Scheme, Tiki Taane and Annabel Fay. It would have been a lovely evening if there hadn’t have been a cool breeze taking the temperature down below expected summer levels but the music was good and the whole event had a nice chilled atmosphere. There was also a caravan stall selling South American styled food, empanadas and fresh grilled churrasco beat stodgy burgers and chips every day.

JBT performing at Daisy Bank Farm, Sunday 5th Feb 2012Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The John Butler Trio at Daisy Bank Farm.

JBT performing at Daisy Bank Farm, Sunday 5th Feb 2012Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Evening at Daisy Bank Farm.

And going back a few weeks my parents were staying so I was also driving around with them. We went out to Makara and checking out the now publicly accessible West Wind Project. It was Dad’s birthday that week and there was cake and a small family get together at Catherine and Paul’s recently purchased Newtown home (plus visited Petone which I wrote about previously here.

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The view north from the West Wind carpark.

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And the view South.

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Newtown Birthday celebration.

This coming week we’ve got Paul, Jen and Mathilde visiting from Brisbane and then we all go back over to the Wairarapa for the wonderful (it will be, trust me) Wedding of Sam and Jules at Pounui Homestead. It’s going to be a full on but fun weekend ahead.

Castlepoint photography weekend

In a rather strange decision we spent Keryn’s birthday weekend at Castlepoint. It was strange because Keryn made the choice (I wasn’t complaining) to take part in a Wellington Photography Meetup Group overnight photography trip, so we’d be spending the weekend with a bunch of people we hadn’t met previously. Keryn did point out that we had basically been doing this for years with birthdays often coming around while we were on trips in far flung countries, so its almost tradition now.

The group met up at the Porirua Train Station carpark and from there we all travelled over to the Wairarapa, stopping in Carterton to have brunch at the Wild Oats cafe. From there we drove on to Castlepoint. We were staying in a rented house, Keryn and I managed to get a room to ourselves which was nice. The afternoon was spent walking around the beach and Castlepoint lighthouse with a later trip back to the beach to catch the evening light and hopefully a sunset. We got lucky with the sunset, dramatic light firing the clouds in orange and purple and reflecting nicely in the water of the bay, though the ever present wind made the photography a little tricky.

Struggling through the windPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Struggling through the wind.

Caught in the blowing sandPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Windblown sand on the beach.

Catching the wavePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

An intrepid surfer.

Castlepoint Lighthouse evening lightPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Evening glow on the lighthouse.

MG 1430Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Sunset.

We had a BBQ for dinner with shared salads and other bits and pieces. I had bought a cake the day before from Janus Bakkerij in Lower Hutt and this made a good desert. We were then all picked up by a courtersy van and drive to the local pub where we watched the All Blacks beat France in their Rugby World Cup pool match.

The following morning Keryn and I got up before dawn and headed back to the beach where we climbed most of the way up Lion Rock to watch a damp squib of a sunrise. We watched a seal come into shore and found a few more lounging on the rocks. After breakfast back at the house we got a group photo and then started back for Wellington.

Early morning from Castle RockPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Grey morning.

Coming in for a restPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Coming in for a rest.

The group for the weekendPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

The photography bunch.

we all stopped at the small town on Tinui for a small walk, taking photos of the small church and walking through a craft shop and museum. There was a final stop back at the Wild Oats cafe and then we were heading back to Wellington where I had some time to rest before heading to work that evening. I was tired that night, more so than usual for some strange reason.

Tinui Good Shepherd Anglican ChurchPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Tinui Church, in need of repairs.

CAUTION childrenPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

walking the quiet road.

Thirty Six

My birth day was an event filled day. After opening a few presents we drove to Petone and spent a short time wandering the Petone Fair stalls we caught up with Sam and Jules and their friend Emma over a drink. From Petone it was north to Harcourt Park in Upper Hutt to watch some of the Grail of Chivalry events including medieval foot combat, jousting and trick horse riding. The weather was warm and we sat on a hillside eating lunch while watching people in armour engaged in mock battles on the field below. After eating we stood near the jousting field and watched richly garbed knights have too with long jousting poles and then moved into the shade as Joe Lumsden’s Rough Riders took their horses over jumps, through fire and performed stunts.

Going to hit you!Photo by Brendon & Keryn

At battle.

Joust knightPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

A knight in armour.

ClashPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Jousting.

JumpPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Leaping the flames.

One horse is not enoughPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Why restrict yourself to one horse?

The end of the dayPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Armour away for the end of the day.

Once the entertainment was finished it was back to the car and onward to Martinborough. We had tickets to the Day on the Green concert held at Alana Estate with Crowded House headlining with support from Supergroove and Seth Hapu. We joined Lydia and Will and some of their friends on a bank overlooking the stage for the first couple of acts, eating food, having a few drinks and conversing. Will had his birthday last week and Lydia’s was the next day so it was a meeting of people getting older. We left when Supergroove finished and made our way to our seats in the posh area, I’d convinced Keryn that seeing as it was my birthday a little extravagance was called for and we had seats right at the front middle of the stage.

Alana EstatePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Alana Estate.

Brendon & KerynPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Us.

Lydia & WillPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Lydia & Will.

Hold the notePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Neil Finn.

Crowded HousePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Crowded House.

Imploring the crowdPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Serenading the audience.

Encouraging the crowdPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Encouraging the singing.

Crowded House were excellent as usual, and the crowd was very enthusiastic singing along to all the hits. We had a few extra-enthusiastic people around us and got up to dance and save our view from the encroachment of others, and it was probably better if less comfortable standing. The encore was long and involved a few song choices from the crowd. At the end the band got together on the stage before thanking the audience and then they all jumped off the stage to thank people in person, darting off to bury themselves in the crowd. It was a good night to end a good day.

Oh, and totally unrelated, one of my photos got used on AFP’s blog, that was nice ;)

ASB Gardens Magic: Jess Chambers

Monday was a holiday here in Wellington and it was nice to spend the day together, especially as I had been working on the weekend. We spent the morning with Sam and Jules checking out some wedding venues in the Wairarapa. It looks like a decision has been made on where they’ll be getting married, they’ve just to to finalise all the important details like a confirmed date with the venue. Exciting stuff as I’ll be taking the photos on the day. An extra bonus was the owner at one site (Tarureka Estate) taking my card and I’m now listed as a photographer on their website, which is nice. We also had good coffee/tea/hot chocolate/milkshake at the Cuckoo Cafe in Greytown, lunch at the Royal Hotel in Featherston (my beef curry was very good) and walked along a south coast beach near Lake Onoke.

2011-01-24 13.42.15.jpgPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Taking Tolix for a run on the beach.

In the evening we were back in Wellington for another ASB Gardens Magic concert. Jess Chambers was the performer this time and we enjoyed an hour of good music while sitting in the sun. We last saw Jess perform at St Peters Hall in Paekakariki in May last year and this time things were very similar with Jess on stage accompanied by Peter Hall. There were a few covers thrown in to vary the set and a few new numbers as well. After a half hour or so Jess and Peter were joined by Billy Earl (one half of the following act Rosy Tin Teacaddy) and Al Fraser. The backing vocals from Billy and Al and Al’s whistle playing on songs such as Island added another dimension to the music and I very much enjoyed the set.

MG 5767Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Jess in the sun.

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From the left: Al Fraser, Billy Earl, Peter Hill & Jess Chambers.

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Al plays the tiny whistle.

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Peter Hill.

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Billy Earl.

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Jess Chambers.

We didn’t stick around for Rosy Tin Teacaddy largely because Keryn wasn’t felling the best and we also needed to go have dinner. I did stop us at Plimmerton so I could take a few photos of the sunset.

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Sunset through the grass.

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The sun heading down behind the clouds.

Before the rush

Keryn’s parents are here to celebrate their 40th Wedding anniversary and Travis and Sophie came down as well so we’ve had a busy few days. Zealandia was open for free to Wellington residents and I’ve heard it was crazy busy on Saturday (today has been strong winds and a bit of rain, so maybe wasn’t as popular) and guessing this would be the case we went to Zealandia on Friday, even though it was overcast, drizzling and with low mist sweeping through the city. There was however almost no wind and because it didn’t look nice (and being a weekday) there was next to no-one at Zealandia which made it the perfect time to visit.

We saw all sorts of wildlife, there was even one tuatara out braving the not so warm weather. Spring was in evidence as well with a couple of ducks out leading their broods of ducklings around. While visiting Zealandia on a nice sunny day may be slightly more pleasant I think that visiting on a grey day is better as there will be less people and the light is generally better for photographs of the flora and fauna.

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A tui feeding amongst the kowhai flowers.

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Mum and ducklings.

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One of the recently released red crowned parakeets (Kakariki).

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An obliging Californian quail.

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Kowhai flowers with a coating of water.

With the weather on Saturday much better in the Wairarapa we headed over to visit a few wineries. We had a ho-hum lunch in Martinborough before heading out to sample the vino and I have decided that next time we’ll eat at Vynfields, the location is just so lovely.

MG 6648Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Tasting at Vynfields Organic Winery.

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The heart of the wine.